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it of all moral support; and we must regret that a more homogeneous combination of all the political elements that are or profess to be Conservative, had not afforded the country a better prospect of extrication from the discredit and danger of Governments on sufferance.
We are as strongly as ever convinced that the great Conservative party, comprising a large majority in the Lords, nearly half the House of Commons, and fully, we believe, threefourths of the property and intelligence of the United Kingdom, is really our sheet-anchor against the current and the storm of revolution. It has failed, indeed, to maintain itself in power, but more, we believe, from want of Parliamentary tact and authority than even of the Parliamentary strength which a short lapse of time might probably have improved, for it really possessed the approbation and goodwill, if not the confidence, of the country at large. It is not denied that the administrative duties of the several departments were never better executed—all with zeal, courtesy, and candour, some with distinguished ability; but it must be admitted that in Parliament they were inferior in discipline, tactics, power of debate, and personal influence to the veterans-the vieille garde of Lord Grey and Sir Robert-who were banded against them. Whether under better strategy-by bolder movements at first, or more Fabian caution at last-they might not have broken that formidable but incoherent array, can only be conjectured; but, one thing is certain, that they now compose the most powerful Opposition that ever was assembled in the House of Commons, and that it is stronger, not merely in numbers, but essentially in character, authority, influence, and power in the country, than any two together of the three or four parties whose coalition has outnumbered it. They hold in their honest and independent hands the balance of the state, and they will, we are confident, be guided in the exercise of that great and delicate trust by the prospective policy sketched out for them by Lord Derby in his address to the Conservative members of both Houses at their meeting on the 20th of December :—
'He hoped that, if the new Government brought forward truly Conservative measures, it would receive, if he could not say the cordial, at least the sincere support of the Conservative party, uninfluenced by pique or resentment; but if the Government about to be formed should not bring forward Conservative measures-if, influenced by the men with whom they were now associated, they brought forward democratic measures, the great Conservative party should remember that, even out of office, they had immense influence in the country, and that they should use that influence to stop the downward course that the Government would be urged to pursue. Thus they would be enabled successfully to defend and preserve the INSTITUTIONS OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY.'Standard, Dec. 21.
VOL. XCII. NO. CLXXXIII.
In these general sentiments we humbly concur; but we must be allowed to regret, in the same spirit of frankness and freedom which we trust has always characterised the Quarterly Review, that there were two prominent and important points of Lord Derby's administration from which we are obliged to record our unqualified dissent. First, the want of statesmanlike reserve and of national dignity in the tone and style in which the recognition of the French Emperor was announced. Fas est et ab hoste doceri; and on such an occasion it would have been natural to remember the remarkable instructions given by the first Buonaparte to Talleyrand for his deportment towards Lord Whitworth
Mettez vous y froid, altier et même un peu fier.' The acquiescence in the choice of the French people should have been wholly, or at least as much as possible kept distinct from all personal allusions, and the most extravagant and despotic usurpation the world has ever seen should not have been treated in so encomiastic and fraternizing a style. Our second regret is, that the Government should have gone out-on what principle or even point we really know not-without having shown any sympathy with the feeling that was most prominent and decided at the late elections-the vindication and maintenance of the PROTESTANT CONSTITUTION; and that the ostentatious violation of the law by Dr. MacHale and his fellows has been not only sanctioned by impunity, but crowned with the very triumph which his audacity foretold.
NOTE to No. 182-Article on Dr. Hanna's Life of Chalmers. THE Rev. Dr. Leishman, minister of Govan, near Glasgow, complains that the account given in our September Number (p. 453) of some communications between a certain section of the Scotch clergy and the Government, towards the crisis of the Free-Kirk controversy, is inaccurate, and, as he thinks, injurious to his own character. We are well aware that Dr. Leishman merits entire respect, and do not for a moment doubt that the statement he objects to is incorrect as far as it concerns him individually. But we must inform Dr. Leishman that we merely endeavoured to condense in that passage the substance of Dr. Hanna's full and detailed statement of transactions with which we could not but suppose him to have been thoroughly acquainted at the date of their Occurrence. Dr. Hanna's extensive and deliberate work had been for a considerable time before the world: we had never heard of any reclamation against that particular portion of his narrative; and we cannot now discover the possibility of extracting from it (see especially Memoirs of Chalmers, vol. iv. p. 302) any other sense than that which our article expressed. Dr. Leishman should have appealed to his brother divine-not to the reviewer.
ART. I.-History of the Ancient Barony of Castle Combe in the County of Wilts, chiefly compiled from original MSS.— with Memoirs of the Familics of Dunstanville, Badlesmere, Tiptoft, Scrope, Fastolf, &c. By George Poulett Scrope, Esq., M.P. 1852. 4to. pp. 404. (Not published.)
NOTHING could be more true or philosophical than certain
remarks of Sir Francis Palgrave's in his Preface to the Parliamentary Writs; and nothing in better taste, or more indicative of his knowing what he was undertaking, than Mr. Scrope's adopting them as the first paragraph of his own Preface:
The genuine history of a country can never be well understood without a complete and searching analysis of the component parts of the community, as well as the country. Genealogical inquiries and local topography, so far from being unworthy the attention of the philosophical inquirer, are amongst the best materials he can use; and the fortunes and changes of one family, or the events of one upland township, may explain the darkest and most dubious portions of the annals of a realm.'
There is no doubt of this; and no need of anything like an apology for any gentleman who, possessing a large collection of well-preserved documents' relating to a manor and ancient barony, conceives an idea that a narrative compiled from such materials may be 'not devoid of value as a contribution to the topography of the country.' He will have a right to consider it as something higher; as a contribution-if not a great, yet a genuine one-to the materials which, if such a fabric is ever to be raised, must lie at the foundation of the History of England.
And we are not without hope on this point. Certainly it will be very odd to have such a thing, and we shall wonder, as we do with gas-light and railways-not to mention cabs and busses -how we ever contrived to do without it; but undoubtedly the materials for English history, and history in general, have been for many years past rapidly, though quietly, accumulating. Brickmaking is a quiet business, and the quarry and the sawpit
VOL. XCII. NO. CLXXXIV.